EDF Energy Renewables is supporting a unique Redcar community scheme to continue to monitor activities along the coast.

Launched in 1996, Coastwatch Redcar trains volunteers to assist the HM Coastguard and search and rescue services in the event of an emergency or unusual incident at sea. The team is based at the Lookout watch tower above the Zetland Lifeboat Museum on the Esplanade in Redcar.

The watch tower has fallen into a state of disrepair but funds are being raised to replace it with a brand new facility.

EDF Energy Renewables, which owns and operates the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar, is supporting the special project with a £10,000 donation from its local community benefit fund.

The project was considered to be deserving of additional support from the community fund given its particular relevance to the community’s coastline area and potential benefit to a wide range of groups using the coast and nearby waters.

Trevor Smith, chairman of Coastwatch Redcar, said: “The existing watch tower is no longer fit for purpose and needs to be replaced urgently. We are very grateful for the contribution from EDF Energy Renewables, without which we would not have been able to go ahead with the project.

“The funding will benefit many people including leisurecraft, fishermen, swimmers and surfers, as well as those using the beach and promenade area. It will allow our volunteers to help HM Coastguard by monitoring the movement of vessels and recording any incidents at sea and along the seafront.”

With the support of EDF Energy Renewables, Coastwatch is aiming to have the new watch tower operational by the end of the summer.

James Wilson, Operations Engineer for the wind farm at EDF Energy Renewables, said: “We are delighted to support a scheme that provides an important service to the local community and has a special relationship with all those associated with the coast including the Teesside offshore wind farm.

“The volunteers work around the clock to plot coastal movements and inform HM Coastguard and ourselves if there is any unusual coastal activity in the vicinity of the wind farm.”

EDF Energy Renewables has supported more than 40 local projects and activities through the Teesside Offshore Community Benefit Fund, which was launched last year by the company in partnership with the Tees Valley Community Foundation. Through the scheme, community groups on Teesside are eligible to apply for financial support for projects, activities and events that benefit local people.

The Teesside offshore wind farm was officially opened recently. It comprises 27 turbines, with a capacity of over 60MW of low carbon electricity – enough to supply the average annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes*.

* Based on DECC and Digest of UK Energy Statistics figures